Strate, the authorised central securities depository (CSD) for the electronic settlement of all financial instruments in South Africa, has implemented HEAT, the service management application from FrontRange Solutions, to improve its information technology (IT) governance and productivity – and, therefore, support to its 60 IT users.
Strate’s core purpose is to mitigate risk, bring efficiencies to the market and improve South Africa’s profile as an investment destination. The organisation handles the settlement of equities, warrants and bonds for the JSE and the Bond Exchange of South Africa as well as other stakeholders in the money markets.
As an electronically-based organisation, its IT capabilities are crucial to meeting its business objectives – which, in turn, are critical to South Africa’s ability to attract investment.
“To get a realistic picture of our IT capabilities and to be able to pre-empt problems and disruptions, we needed not just an incident and change call logging system but also trend analysis capabilities,” says Strate’s head of IT, David Parry.
After investigating a number of off-the-shelf options with which to replace its in-house system, Strate settled on HEAT for reasons of price and availability of support. “More importantly,” Parry says, “HEAT allowed us to start small and grow as we needed. So the initial investment in significantly improving our capabilities was relatively small.
“Also, HEAT is ITIL compliant in four areas of best practice. So it gave us comfort at a governance level.”
In addition, HEAT’s inherent flexibility enabled Strate to own the system by customising it themselves to address new situations triggered by new customers - and new services as they are developed.
The initial implementation was easy, Parry says, “with only minor tweaking needed to increase user-friendliness”. Customisation following the implementation has also been easy – and has enabled the creation of auto-tasks that allow users to run multiple call actions by clicking one button. Strate has also used HEAT to create pop-up errors to tell users why specific call actions have failed which includes a built in business impact analysis screen to manage a basic change control process. In addition, HEAT was adjusted to enforce assignment of call records and accommodate different security roles and user rights.
“Working in the financial services sector with mission critical data system flexibility was important – but not at the cost of system stability,” Parry says. “HEAT has proved more than satisfactory on both those issues.”